He looked awfully familiar. Kelly had to wrack her brain to locate him in her memory. She flipped through every place in town she’s ever frequented — every bar, disco, costume boutique, and even the office supply store — to narrow down where she had seen that face before. She had her suspicions, and when he turned his head a certain way, showing her a good view of his profile, she was damn sure she knew exactly where she had seen him. Not many could pull that Elvis Presley hair.
And then the radio station began playing a song from the 70’s, a dance beat that was hard not to at least tap one foot in tune to the rhythm. But then the office’s new programmer began to hum along with the song, completely lost in the music. Hearing his voice reeled in the memory crystal clear to the forefront of her memory and she smiled. Mystery man identified. She found him. No doubt about who he was any more.
Except this Hiro was nothing like the narcissistic dancer she had competed with a year ago. This Hiro had approached the office department as if he had gotten the wrong place, mumbled that he was from I.T, and was shown to the computer that needed his expertise. He walked all the way to the cubicle with uncertainty as if someone would object to his presence at any moment.
Totally not the man who was wooing every single girl in the vicinity like he were the sun every lady revolved around.
That was curious indeed, but Kelly was not one to judge. She herself was quite a different woman when at her job. He must have seen her but would never have guessed her to be the dancer with the fetish bunny suit and the rattle. As if she’d ever done on the bunny suit anyway; she had a much better one now. The beginning of a chuckle escaped her lips at the thought of Hiro seeing her in her police uniform costume, when —
Her fingers froze over her keyboard at the sudden exciting thought, and she glanced back up, scheming.
A rematch would be excellent.
Now, how to speak with him? He wasn’t the only dancer who was of a completely different mold when off the dance floor. Kelly had to admit she was glad she wasn’t the only one suffering from being so timid. Costumes were great for that. And she would have been a little concerned for Hiro’s wellbeing if he were wearing that suit and strutting around town all day like some man lost in time.
Sort of like how she would never wear that new uniform to work, as much as she loved it. Masks were great and all, but there was a time and place for it.
And speaking of a time and place…
She pulled up a new web search page and went straight into one of the newer discos she’s been visiting. Found their ad and sent it to her printer. The colors didn’t come out as nicely sharp as on the screen, but they would capture his attention. She scribbled “Meet me?” with her black Sharpie and drew in a smiley face for good measure. She folded the piece of paper. Then getting to her feet, she pretended she was getting some water. On her way she dropped the piece onto Hiro’s lap. He didn’t look up once, and she didn’t dare look back after doing her side of the deal.
She just had to trust.
Hiro was standing there checking out the women passing by, shooting each one with a winning smile and a striking pose he would never dare to attempt at the office.
Then his eyes fell on Kelly and his eyes twinkled.
“Come to arrest me, officer?” he said, hands rubbing his chest proudly. Then taking in her face, something changed in his eyes. Kelly smiled. He knew.
The recognition nearly knocked the confidence right out of him, morphing him back to the nerdy tech genius from I.T. back fixing the department computers, but he instantly regained himself. Seeing her like this, exposed and out of her formal work suit, was almost enough to send her whirling right back in her shy corner at her cubicle as well, but she pushed on forward. Her costume was her doorway into confidence; she wasn’t going to give this up. Besides, they were both in the same boat.
“I know you,” he said in a voice decidedly more quiet than what he used with the other girls.
Kelly had to grin and take the pose she had used over a year ago when she first met him before their first dual.
The sparks in his eyes reached his smile. “Yes, yes! I know you from before! We…you’re from the office!”
So much for a disguise.
“Honey, I’m Kelly,” Kelly said, giving her baton a quick twirl. “We competed a year ago. My suit was different then.”
“Yes!” He stood back, sticking out his chest in that adorably most annoying way. “I’ve gotten much better since. You’ll be dust on the dance floor, baby.”
She sauntered around him, baton tracing around his form, barely touching him.
“Really?” she said in a mock-threatening tone as she studied him up and down. “I want to see you prove that. I remember smearing the dance floor with you. Let’s see just how good you’ve gotten.”
Hiro couldn’t deny turning down the grin she gave him.
In the end, it was a tie. Whatever battles Kelly lost she made up for twice over, and each time Hiro fell behind he was refueled with sudden inspiration to push on. Cheers from adoring fans may have had something to do with it.
They drank in between battles, laughing, mentioning funny moments both were lucky enough to witness at the company, or stories Hiro had from the I.T. department. Kelly had plenty from her department, everyone from the manager to the cleaning crew. It seemed everyone made the most of their mundane job by being as quirky as possible.
By the end, the two were singing along with the music. They had just finished another round of a dance battle when someone called out, “Smooth moves, cool cats!”
Kelly recognized the voice and searched for him, spotting Apollo standing and grooving with his arms to the beat. Not far from him were Miranda, Orion, and Planet. Kelly laughed, but Hiro’s face was full of confusion.
“Galaxy 4,” Kelly explained. “They’ve competed in a different tournament recently. I’ve seen them hang around here before, but I never danced with them personally.”
Hiro grinned in understanding and nodded towards them in greeting.
Two disco-loving brats, they would make a great team! Kelly thought with satisfaction. While she had never danced with any of them, she had seen them before and they were stellar. If she had to be honest, she was a little intimidated by them.
“Come on, let’s see you groove!” Miranda called out just as a 70’s song began.
Kelly forced her smile to remain on. Damn.
“What do you say?” Hiro said, turning to her.
“Two against four?” Kelly said. “Can we handle that?”
Hiro considered the question before shooting off his greatest smug grin. “We’ve danced against twin aliens, small dogs strutting their thing on two feet, and giant robots from outer space. Why, this’s nothing but a friendly game of dance war!”
Her new friend’s words were all the encouragement she needed to boost her confidence. She settled her drink on the counter and posed next to him, taking in the Galaxy 4 from across the dance floor.
“Let’s get to it!”